The launch of the 25th North West 10k Charity Run & Walk took place in the Mount Errigal Hotel on Monday night.
The first Chairperson in 1997, Charlie Kelly, had the honour of formally launching the 25th run and walk. Unfortunately Charlie wasn’t able to be present in person but a message on his behalf was read out by 10k Vice-Chairperson Nancy McNamee
Announcements in relation to the event which has raised nearly €834,000 for 36 charities in the past 24 years were made during the launch. A souvenir 25th commemorative booklet was also formally unveiled at the launch.
The North West 10k committee has a new free t-shirt to mark the 25th anniversary of the charity event which started in 1997. The commemorative t-shirt is guaranteed for all who enter before the 31st of March. A North West 10k medallion will also be presented to participants on the day of the event.
Chairperson Neil Martin said it was fitting that the launch should take place in the Mount Errigal because it was in this hotel that the meeting took place to form the first North West 10k committee in the winter of 1996 and the rest as they say is history.
At 6 p.m. on 10th of May 1997 the first North West 10k charity event took place in Letterkenny and the same town will host the 25th anniversary event on the Bank Holiday Monday May 2nd 2022.
The committee which had been running the Rockhill 10k for 14 years had decided not to continue themselves after the 1996 event but two of their members Pat Price and the late Martin Giblin were still very anxious to see the community charity race remain an active annual fundraiser for worthy causes.
So they met with Charlie who used his athletics contacts to form the first committee and 24 years later 36 charities have benefitted to the tune of nearly 834,000 euros from the North West 10k.
10k Chairperson Neil Martin said: “I want to commend all the committees involved with our predecessor the Rockhill 10k for the great work they did in establishing the race as one of the biggest charity events that also attracted big name runners from outside the county.
“They also persuaded UTV to come down from Belfast and film the event two years in a row. I want to acknowledge the work of all the committees over the past 24 years under the Chairpersons Charlie Kelly, Grace Boyle and James Boyle. And for the past six years it’s been me in that role.”
Neil Martin also thanked all the sponsors who have supported the North West 10k down the years. “We are very grateful to have five sponsors this year again: Donegal Daily, Brian McCormick InterSport, Century Cinemas, the Mount Errigal Hotel and the Value Centre.
“Every year the North 10k is about the charities and in 2022 the proceeds will go to three very worthy causes in the Donegal Branch for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus, the Donegal Diabetes Parents Support Group and the No Barriers Foundation. They have already been working very hard together on a range of additional fundraising initiatives that will boost the money raised on the actual day of the North West 10k on May 2nd.
“It takes a huge voluntary effort to host the charity event. First of all there is the 10k committee who all bring different skills in the pre-planning phase and then making sure everything goes to schedule on the day with safety of everyone paramount.
“We have a team of stewards and marshals under Neily McDaid who are loyal to the Northwest 10k and their experience is invaluable making the route as safe as possible for the participants.
“We are indebted to the Gardai who advise and support us on the day. I would like to thank Sergeant Eunan Walsh and his team for all their help. The Red Cross are with us every year and that is so important in the event that someone needs medical assistance. The Letterkenny Chamber have been with us from the start offering back-up in terms of administration and one of their staff Anne Condon has been a vital link as she has been one of our committee members from 1997.
“I also want to acknowledge the presence here tonight of two of the charities who benefitted in 1997 namely MS Donegal Branch and the Breast Care Unit at Letterkenny General Hospital as it was then” Neil Martin said.
The Chairperson also took the opportunity to thank the current North West committee for their endeavours since they started planning for the 25th back last September.
“Because it is a special milestone there has been extra work involved to date and as they say there is a lot more to do. We have a very dedicated team who have worked very diligently so I’m confident that we are on track to make our new date of Monday 2nd of May a very memorable celebration as it should be.”
Marcus Ward, Mairead Farren and Marina Kennedy-Quick spoke on behalf of the respective charities Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus, the Donegal Diabetes Parents Support Group and the No Barriers Foundation. The final part of Monday night’s proceedings was the official launch by Charlie Kelly and his message was read out by Nancy McNamee.
“I would like to thank the committee for inviting me to perform the official launch of the 25th North West 10k however, I regret that I am unable to attend. It is very pleasing to note the way the event has grown over the years and continuing to raise major funds for charities, I wish the 10k committee every success in the future. I am delighted now to formally launch the 25th North West 10k. Good Luck. Charlie Kelly.”
The 25th North West 10k takes place on Monday 2nd of May in Letterkenny at 11 a.m. The online entry fee is €15 and the link can be found on the 10ks Facebook and Twitter accounts or by going to the website www.northwest10k.com